The Official Journal of the Ensign Trust, London

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THE ENSIGN MESSAGE

THE POWER OF PROPAGANDA

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When examining internet articles critical of British­ Israel, it is clear that what we  are seeing is propaganda, not an honest, fair, and factual analysis. Considering the sheer volume  of such  attacks, it is equally  clear  that  our opponents are  very afraid  of these  truths,  and desperate to twist the evidence in whatever way necessary to negate it. We therefore first of all need  to face the reality that we are dealing with propaganda, not reasonable discourse.

The first use  of the  word,  “propaganda,” was  a 1622 papal  letter  written  by Pope  Gregory  XV, who founded “Congregatio de Propaganda Fide,”  the Congregation for the  Propagation of the  Faith. The Catholic  Church  used  the  Latin word  meaning, “to propagate,” to refer  to the dissemination of beliefs and doctrine. In the ensuing years,  propaganda has grown to become very big business indeed.

The British Library in London, England, sponsored this summer, a special exhibit examining the role that propaganda has played  in forming  belief systems through the ages. They listed, seven techniques used by propagandists: glittering generalities,  transfer, name calling, card stacking, testimonials, plain folks, and bandwagon. Let us see and understand how our opponents utilize such  tactics.

One argument I have seen  used repeatedly against us is glittering generalities. Opponents will say that it “really is not important if we are God’s people Israel, because the only thing that matters is that Christ died for our sins.”  If  that  were  the  case, the  Scriptures would have been  limited  to John  3:16 instead of an entire  Holy Bible! Respond to such a remark by asking,  “Do  you  have absolutely no  desire to understand more  about the Christian life so you can live it to its  fullest? Will you remain a babe in Christ and not  grow  into   full Spiritual maturity as Scripture  requires?” (Heb. 5:12-14)

The transfer  argument is being  used  more  and more  these  days.  They  will pick  some unpopular group  like the German Third Reich of a century ago and try to associate us with that. My father  risked his life fighting the Nazis during World War II, so it is an especial affront  to imply such  nonsense. But of course, our  opponents are  not  interested in  truth, only propaganda in an effort to demonize those  they disagree with.

Name calling or insults are also very common. This reminds me of the old cartoon where a minister has written  in his notes, “argument weak: pound  pulpit!” This tactic is designed  to create moral outrage. If some of our critics are downright nasty using invectives in place  of fact,  they may be following  the thinking  of American philosopher Noam Chomsky  (born  1928) who  said,  “Propaganda is to a democracy what  the bludgeon is  to  a  totalitarian state.”  Ever  felt bludgeoned by critics? If so, console yourself that it is only propaganda!

Card stacking is very popular among our  critics, who will sometimes quote  lots of other  authors who all agree with  them!  The  bandwagon approach  is often seen  where ministers are required to teach the theology of their own denomination. No deviation is allowed, or they will be  removed from  their  pulpit and livelihood!

The plain folks approach can  perhaps be best defined  by British politician Richard Trossman  (1907-74), who wrote,  “The art of propaganda is not telling lies but rather seeking  the truth you require and giving it mixed  up with some truths  the audience wants to hear.” Yes, a mixture of truth and lies, or “half-truths,” is more effective than a total lie. Propagandists identify with  their  audience by mixing  in some things  they strongly agree  with.

I  would add  another propaganda method redirecting already existing firmly-held beliefs off into a harmless new  direction, thus  neutralizing them. British   philosopher  Aldous Huxley   (1894-1963) expressed it thus: “The propagandist is a man  who canalizes an already existing stream. In a land where there  is no water,  he digs in vain.” If a target group  is composed of firm Bible-believers, for example, their faith is redirected into a harmless ineffectual course. Could  this  be  compared to  the  popular modern liberals  teaching that God’s promises and covenants are just spiritual and have no physical fulfillment?

A well known  example of wartime propaganda was exposed in Arthur  Ponsonby’s 1928 book, “Falsehood in Wartime.” The British propaganda ministry invented  atrocity stories during World War I, including a claim that Germans  turning human bodies into lubricating  oil (page  102-3). Perhaps you may be able to name  other  false atrocity claims at that time!

As a result of WWI propaganda excesses, the word became associated with the spreading of half-truths and lies, a negative cast that it still retains  to this day and unfortunately for good  reason! With the recent revelations in the press concerning the American government covertly  spying  on  its citizens,  a 1971 Soviet poster now seems rather prescient: it depicted the Statue  of Liberty in New York parodied as a look out tower for the government to observe its people!

One  of the  most influential of British propagandists was Lord Northcliffe, who during  the WWI era  owned the  Times,  Daily Mail, and  other newspapers. He gave the following  wise advice  for those interesting in influencing others:

* “Undigested material is no material.” Is our message in an understandable form?

* “Useless material is worse than  no material; I read  some  British  Israel publications and  articles therein that have no real specific relevance to our message or its propagation and  seem like “filler.” Why  then waste the  paper  and postage? Such material  just takes people’s time away from reading something else  more  relevant.

* Do not waste time and effort  bringing someone “to a conclusion that  he can  reach unaided.”

* Do  not   be  unnecessarily  negative. Lord Northcliffe advised, “Unless men are very ill or very uncomfortable they resist fears and welcome hopes. The human mind  dismisses fears and  accepts and even invents hope with all its strength. Propaganda that  merely threatens achieves nothing unless it holds out hopes also.”

* “No man will blame himself  if there is anyone else to  blame.. .Indignation with  others is  the natural state of man.” Unfortunately, we  have brought upon ourselves most  of our  evils as a people, and need to stop always blaming others for our problems. Our own need to  turn in faithfulness to God is a tough message to get across.

* Concerning the falsehoods of our  critics, this statement by Lord Northcliffe applies “Lies are  the least effective form of propaganda. The effect  of a lie diminishes and the effect  of a frank statement increases with  the  square of  the  time  that   has ensued after it has been told.”

How much  effort is placed on propaganda by governments? During WWI, in ten months  of 1917 alone,  40 million items  were  produced by Britain, including  pamphlets, pictures, postcards and  other items.  In February  and  March,  17, two  and  a  half million   propaganda books and   pamphlets were published in the United Kingdom alone. Output only then  lessened as a result  of a paper  shortage! How true were  the words  of American public relations pioneer, Edward  Bernays  (1891-1995), who said, “Propaganda is the  executive arm  of the  invisible government.”

Atheistic Communism has  placed a great emphasis on  propaganda. More  than  one  billion copies of Mao’s “Little Red Book” of statements and speeches were  distributed between 1964 and  1976, and  unknown quantities since! We certainly cannot compete in quantity with either Chairman  Mao or our critics!  But we  have  the advantage of truth  on our side, and the importance of getting our message out in an  understandable, honest, and  Scriptural  form could  not  be greater today. Will you stand  with  us and help us to proclaim British-Israel covenant  truths to God ‘s blind people?

Remember the  command of our  Lord: “The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house  Beelzebub, how much  more shall they call them of his household? Fear them  not therefore for there is nothing  covered, that shall not be revealed, and hid, that shall not be known. What I tell you in darkness, that speak  ye in light and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon  the housetops.” (Matt.  10:24-27)  Shall  we  be  about our  Master’s business?

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